Rendering of Diman Hall exterior rear entrance


Reimagining the Dormitory Complex

As educational methods have evolved over the years, so too must our boarding school spaces. Where once teachers stood at the front of the class lecturing to students sitting at rows of desks, teaching and learning these days has become much more collaborative, with classmates often sitting together at large tables or in smaller pods. Similarly, dormitories today now need more than isolated dorm rooms; they need collaborative spaces for students to gather, bond, and build community. Indeed, a boarding school must pride itself on its residential spaces. For students living away from home, acceptance and comfort are key.

A signature feature of a reimagined Arden-Diman-Eccles complex will be its central core beneath the historic clock tower. In its new life, Diman Hall will mainly consist of community gathering spaces open to all students — boys and girls, boarding and day — throughout the day and evening. From class-project meetings to exam study sessions to game nights, we envision these common spaces as supporting both the academic and social needs of our students.

Historic Preservation

From St. George's Inception as an Episcopal school, the ideals of the faith — centered on family and community — influenced the style of our architecture. Buildings were imagined with the sentiment that all aspects of life — intellectual, physical and spiritual — were interconnected and intrinsic to a proper secondary education. Symmetry, order, and the grandeur of our nature surroundings all contributed to the aesthetic aspects of the campus.
Clarke & Howe, a Providence, Rhode Island, architectural firm, was the designer of both Arden and Diman halls. In fact, when Arden was built, the vision for the rest of the dormitory complex was already complete, though the complex took 20 years to complete. Prescott O. Clarke was a cousin of John Diman’s and also the lead architect of Old School, designing the Hilltop’s first building using architectural elements from both the Colonial and Dutch Renaissance revivals.
Voith & Mactavish Architects of Philadelphia is the architect of the new faculty housing complex and the renovation of Arden-Diman-Eccles. When the firm completed a comprehensive plan for St. George’s in May of 2021, improving the quality of our residential facilities clearly emerged as a critical goal.
Rendering of Diman Hall Interior

A renovated Arden-Diman-Eccles dormitory complex would provide a quarter of our boarding students with modernized residential spaces — and all students with centrally located gathering spaces — within the envelope of a treasured historic, architecturally significant building.

A Reimagined, Coed Residential Space

While the Arden-Diman-Eccles complex has housed mostly boys since the late 1990s, the renovated dormitories will house both boys and girls, each on opposite sides of the Diman Hall common areas — much like the Buell and Wheeler dormitories have operated for third-formers for the past several years.
The number of beds in the renovated dorms will decrease by 14, with the goal of providing single-room occupants with valuable and inviting common spaces to gather with new friends, faculty, and dormmates
First Floor Arden Diman Eccles

The proposed first-floor plan of the reimagined Arden-Diman-Eccles dormitory complex.
Image: Voith & Mactavish Architects

The central area of the complex below the Diman Hall clock tower will be expanded slightly on the west side to allow for an expansion of community spaces. The lower level will become home to a day-student lounge on the west side. The first floor will become a two-story lounge for all students on the west side and two dormitory rooms (singles) facing the quad. The second floor will house a kitchen and a common room for Eccles Dormitory on the east side overlooking the quad. And the third floor will have a kitchen and a common room for Arden Hall on the newly expanded west side.

A Reimagined Day-Student Space

Rendering of Diman Hall Lower Level
The lower level of Diman Hall will be devoted to providing a welcoming, inclusive, and practical area for day students. With both study-friendly and social spaces, the area will also have dedicated bathrooms, storage space, and an office for the day-student advisor, a member of the Student Life Office, who will be able to provide an adult presence and guidance. The new, modernized space will have the added advantage of being in a central place on campus and just below the Diman Hall common area accessible to all students. Day students will experience the campus and the community more seamlessly than they have in the past.

The Role of Philanthropy: Our “Hero Donors”

Significant in the history of the development of the school have been a number of alumni and families who so believed in John Diman’s vision and the value of a St. George’s education that they gave back to the school in extraordinary ways.
Among them were the donors of both Arden and Diman halls. Arden, the first building on the Hilltop to be used solely as a dormitory, was built in 1907 with a gift from William Madison Wood. Wood, a son of Portuguese immigrants who grew up in poverty in Massachusetts, later became a multimillionaire as head of the American Woolen Co. Two of Wood’s sons, William Jr. and Cornelius, graduated from St. George’s. Wood is also credited with the transition of the school from a for-profit to a charitable organization, for his gift was predicated on just that, “incentivizing” John Diman and the founding partners to register with the state as a nonprofit.
Diman Hall and Diman North (later to be renamed Eccles), were given in 1925 by Vincent Astor ’10. Astor spent five years at St. George’s and entered Harvard at age 20, only to leave the following year after the death of his father in the sinking of the Titanic in April 1912. Astor, who had become a close friend of John Diman, wished to pay tribute to our founder’s legacy with the construction of Diman Hall. The dormitories were completed in 1927. Only minor upgrades, mainly the construction of walls to replace the former curtained cubicles, have been made to the interior of the dormitories, which are now far from the standards sought after by today’s prospective families.
Arden/Diman/Eccles West Elevation

Arden-Diman-Eccles West Facade/Addition
Image: Voith & Mactavish Architects

If you are interested in learning more, please contact:


Jedd Whitlock ’94
Director of Advancement

Dana Schmaltz ’85
Board Chair

Ted Duff ’88
Campaign Committee Chair